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Clint Eastwood Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (12) | Trivia (143) | Personal Quotes (94) | Salary (15)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 31 May 1930San Francisco, California, USA
Birth NameClinton Eastwood Jr.
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Perhaps the icon of macho movie stars, Clint Eastwood has become a standard in international cinema. Born in 1930 in San Francisco, the son of a steelworker, Eastwood briefly attended Los Angeles City College but dropped out to pursue acting. He found bit work in such B-films as Revenge of the Creature (1955) and Tarantula (1955) until he got his first breakthrough in the long-running TV series Rawhide (1959). As Rowdy Yates, he made the show his own and became a household name around the country.

Eastwood found bigger and better things in Italy with the spaghetti westerns A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965), but it was the third installment in the trilogy where he found one of his signature roles: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). The movie was a big hit and brought him instant international recognition. He followed it up with his first American-made western, Hang 'Em High (1968), before playing second fiddle to Richard Burton in the World War II epic Where Eagles Dare (1968) and Lee Marvin in the unusual musical Paint Your Wagon (1969). In Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) and Kelly's Heroes (1970), Eastwood combined tough-guy action with offbeat humor.

1971 proved to be one of his best years in film, if not the best. He starred in The Beguiled (1971) and the cult classic Play Misty for Me (1971). But it was his role as the hard edge police inspector in Dirty Harry (1971) that elevated Eastwood to superstar status and invented the loose-cannon cop genre that has been imitated even to this day. Eastwood had constant quality films over the following years with Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) opposite Jeff Bridges, the Dirty Harry sequels Magnum Force (1973) and The Enforcer (1976), the westerns Joe Kidd (1972), High Plains Drifter (1973) and The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), and the fact-based thriller Escape from Alcatraz (1979). In 1978 Eastwood branched out into the comedy genre with Every Which Way But Loose (1978), which became the biggest hit of his career up to that time. Taking inflation into account, it still is.

Eastwood kicked off the eighties with Any Which Way You Can (1980), the blockbuster sequel to Every Which Way But Loose. The fourth Dirty Harry film, Sudden Impact (1983), was the highest-grossing film of the franchise and spawned Eastwood's trademark catchphrase, "Make my day". Eastwood also starred in Firefox (1982), Tightrope (1984), City Heat (1984) (with Burt Reynolds), Pale Rider (1985), and Heartbreak Ridge (1986), which were all big hits. In 1988 Eastwood did his fifth and final Dirty Harry movie, The Dead Pool (1988). Although it was a success overall, it did not have the box office punch his previous films had. Shortly thereafter, with outright bombs like Pink Cadillac (1989) and The Rookie (1990), it became apparent that Eastwood's star was declining as it never had before. He then started taking on more personal projects, such as directing Bird (1988), a biopic of Charlie Parker, and starring in and directing White Hunter Black Heart (1990), an uneven, loose biopic of John Huston.

But Eastwood bounced back, first with his western, Unforgiven (1992), which garnered him an Oscar for Best Director, and a nomination for Best Actor. Then he took on the secret service in In the Line of Fire (1993), which was a big hit, followed by the interesting but poorly received drama, A Perfect World (1993), with Kevin Costner. Next up was a love story, The Bridges of Madison County (1995), which was yet again a success. Eastwood's subsequent films were solid but nothing really stuck out. Among them were the well-received Absolute Power (1997) and Space Cowboys (2000), and the badly received True Crime (1999) and Blood Work (2002). Then in 2004, Eastwood surprised yet again when he produced, directed and starred in Million Dollar Baby (2004). The movie earned Eastwood an Oscar for Best Director and a Best Actor nomination for the second time. He had other successes directing the multi-award-winning films Mystic River (2003), Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), and Changeling (2008) which starred Angelina Jolie. After a four-year hiatus from acting, Eastwood's return to the screen in Gran Torino (2008) gave him a $30 million opening weekend, proving his box office appeal has not waned.

Eastwood has managed to keep his extremely complicated personal life private and has rarely been featured in the tabloids. He had a long time relationship with frequent co-star Sondra Locke and has eight children by six other women, only two of whom he married. Eastwood divides his time between Carmel and Los Angeles.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Scott- msa0510@mail.ecu.edu

Spouse (2)

Dina Eastwood (31 March 1996 - present) (filed for divorce) (1 child)
Maggie Johnson (19 December 1953 - 1984) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (12)

His characters have a new "trademark expression" in each movie. The same character (e.g., Dirty Harry) will have a different one in each movie.
During the credits at the end of his movies, the camera will move around the location it was filmed in, after which there will be freezeframe for the rest of the credits.
Frequently uses shadow lightning in his films
His films often deal with the gap between the truth and the mythologized version of the truth (White Hunter Black Heart, Unforgiven, Flags of our Fathers)
Known on-set as a director for filming very few takes and having an easy shooting schedule. Tim Robbins once said that when working on Mystic River, Eastwood would usually ask for only one take, or two "if you were lucky", and that a day of filming would consist of starting "no earlier than 9 a.m. and you leave, usually, after lunch."
His characters are often men struggling to overcome their past and atone for their crimes
Narrow eyes
Towering height and slender frame
Unmistakable authorative rasping (sometimes hissing) voice
Often breaks unexpectedly into a warm smile
Always at ease and never self-conscious.
Deadpan delivery

Trivia (143)

Lived with Sondra Locke from 1975 to 1989.
Owns the Mission Ranch inn, in Carmel, California, the exclusive Tehama golf club in Carmel Valley, and is partial owner of the Pebble Beach Golf Country Club in nearby Monterey Peninsula.
Received an honorary César Award in Paris, France, for his body of work.
(10/97) Ranked #2 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.
Gained popularity with his first three major films, A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) (which weren't released in America until 1967-1968). Soon afterwards Jolly Films (which produced A Fistful of Dollars (1964)) came out with a film called "The Magnificent Stranger", which was actually two episodes of Rawhide (1959) edited together. Eastwood sued and the film was withdrawn.
He wore the same poncho, without ever having washed it, in all three of his "Man with No Name" Westerns.
Elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. It has often been claimed that he ran for office as a Republican. In fact, although he was registered as a Republican in California, the position of mayor is non-partisan.
Was apparently such an organized director that he finished Absolute Power (1997) days ahead of schedule.
Got his role in Rawhide (1959) while visiting a friend at the CBS lot when a studio exec spotted him because he "looked like a cowboy."
Was a lifeguard and swimming instructor for the U.S. Army in the early 1950s, stationed at Fort Ord in California. According to high school friend Don Loomis ("Clint: The Life and Legend" by Patrick McGilligan), Eastwood avoided being sent to Korea by romancing one of the daughters of a Fort Ord officer, who might have been entreated to watch out for him when names came up for postings.
Lived with Frances Fisher from 1990 to 1995. They had one daughter.
It's interesting, given his penchant towards directing or starring in westerns, that his name, Clint Eastwood, is an anagram for 'old west action.'
His name is used as the title of the hit Gorillaz song and video "Clint Eastwood".
Mentioned in the theme song of the 1980s TV hit The Fall Guy (1981).
For many years he was the owner of the nation's largest known hardwood tree, a bluegum eucalyptus, until a larger version of the tree was discovered in 2002.
(6/8/02) Sworn in as Parks Commissioner for the state of California at Big Basin Redwood Park, Santa Cruz. Holding up his new commissioner's badge, he told the crowd, "You're all under arrest.".
Recipient of John F. Kennedy Center Honors.
Received the Career Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
He has English, as well as Scottish, Irish, Dutch, and German, ancestry.
Redubbed his own dialogue for the American releases of A Fistful of Dollars (1964) ("A Fistful Of Dollars"), For a Few Dollars More (1965) ("For A Few Dollars More"), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) ("The Good, The Bad and The Ugly").
When he directs, he insists that his actors wear as little makeup as possible and he likes to print first takes. As a result, his films consistently finish on schedule and on budget.
When directing, he simply says "okay" instead of "action" and "cut." (source: "Sunday Morning Shootout").
Weighed 11 lbs 6 oz at birth.
He was a contract player at Universal International. He and another young actor named Burt Reynolds were released from their contracts and left the studio on the same day. They were both fired by the same director. Eastwood was fired when the director didn't want to use him in a movie because "his Adam's Apple was too big." Reynolds, who was serving as a stunt man, was fired after he shoved the director into a water tank during an argument over how to do a stunt fall.
Mentioned on T.G. Sheppard's hit single "Make My Day," which in the first half of 1984 reached #12 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart and also reached #62 on that magazine's Hot 100 singles survey.
When Don Siegel fell ill during production of Dirty Harry (1971), Eastwood stepped in as director during the attempted-suicide/jumper sequence.
Wife Dina Eastwood is a former local television news anchor/reporter in California.
Has 8 children by 6 different women: Kimber Eastwood (born 17 June 1964) with Roxanne Tunis; Kyle Eastwood (born 19 May 1968) and Alison Eastwood (born 22 May 1972) with Maggie Johnson; Scott Eastwood (born 21 March 1986) and Kathryn Eastwood (born 2 February 1988) with Jacelyn Reeves; Francesca Eastwood (born 7 August 1993) with Frances Fisher; Morgan Eastwood (born 12 December 1996) with Dina Eastwood; and another child that has not been publicly identified.
Brother-in-law of Dominic V. Ruiz and Jade Marx-Berti.
He and first wife Maggie Johnson came close to divorcing in the mid-1960s, when Eastwood fathered his firstborn child in an affair with Roxanne Tunis. About that time, Johnson became very ill with hepatitis; after she recovered, Eastwood agreed to a reconciliation, and almost 15 years after they married, their first child together was born.
The two children from his affair with Jacelyn Reeves, Scott Eastwood and Kathryn Eastwood, were not mentioned in the press until the early 2000s. Their birth certificates state "father declined".
He has always disliked the reading of political and social agendas in his films, which has occurred from Dirty Harry (1971) to Million Dollar Baby (2004). He has always maintained that all of his films are apolitical and what he has in mind when making a film is whether it's going to be entertaining and compelling.
Has been named to Quigley Publications' annual Top 10 Poll of Money-Making Stars 21 times, making him #2 all-time for appearances in the top 10 list. Only John Wayne, with 25 appearances in the Top 10, has more. Eastwood, who first appeared in the Top Ten at #5 in 1968, finished #2 to Wayne at the box office in 1971 after finishing #2 to Paul Newman in 1970. After his first two consecutive #1 appearances in 1972 and 1973, he dropped back to #2 in 1974, trailing Robert Redford at the box office. Clint was again #2 in 1979, 1981 and 1982 (topped by Burt Reynolds all three years), before leading the charts in 1983 and '84. He last topped the poll in 1993.
Was named the top box-office star of 1972 and again in 1973 by the Motion Picture Herald, based on an annual poll of exhibitors as to the drawing power of movie stars at the box-office, conducted by Quigley Publications.
He was the only nominee for the Best Actor Oscar in 2004 (for Million Dollar Baby (2004)) to play a fictitious character. All four other nominees portrayed real people in their respective films.
A sample of his whistling can be heard on the track "Big Noise" from his son Kyle Eastwood's jazz CD "Paris Blue" (2004).
At the The 45th Annual Academy Awards (1973), he presented the 1972 Best Picture Oscar to Albert S. Ruddy, the producer of The Godfather (1972). Thirty-two years later, they would jointly accept the 2004 Best Picture Oscar at the The 77th Annual Academy Awards (2005), along with fellow Million Dollar Baby (2004) co-producer Tom Rosenberg.
At the The 72nd Annual Academy Awards (2000) in 2000, presented the Best Picture statuette to American Beauty (1999).
Was named the #1 top money-making star at the box office in Quigley Publications' annual poll of movie exhibitors five times between 1972 and 1993. Bing Crosby, Burt Reynolds and Tom Hanks also have been named #1 five times, while Tom Cruise holds the record for being named #1 six times.
Stacy McLaughlin filed a $100,000 lawsuit against Eastwood in May 1989 for "knowingly, intentionally and deliberately" ramming her Nissan Maxima with his quarter-ton pickup at the Burbank Studios on Dec. 16, 1988 when she mistakenly parked in his parking space while dropping off a tape at his Malpaso Productions Company. Eastwood, who contended he was only trying to park his vehicle in its rightful space, paid $960 to repair the headlights and bumper of McLaughlin's car. She sought the additional money as punitive damages, claiming malice on Eastwood's part. The case went to court in July 1991, but a judge refused to grant the damages.
On February 27, 2005, at age 74, he became the oldest person to win the Best Director Oscar for Million Dollar Baby (2004). His 96-year old mother was in attendance at the ceremony.
He directed 10 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Gene Hackman, Meryl Streep, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Marcia Gay Harden, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, and himself (in Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004)). Hackman, Penn, Robbins, Freeman and Swank won Oscars for their performances in one of Eastwood's movies.
For two consecutive years he directed two out of the four actors who won Oscars for their performances: Sean Penn (Best Actor) and Tim Robbins (Best Supporting Actor) in Mystic River (2003)) in 2004, and Hilary Swank (Best Actress) and Morgan Freeman (Best Supporting Actor) for Million Dollar Baby (2004)) in 2005.
Received an honorary Doctorate from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Wesleyan is also home to his personal archives.
Every year the PGA tour comes to Pebble Beach, California, to host a celebrity golf tournament where celebrities team up with the professionals. Clint has participated in this every year from 1962-2002 and has been the longest running participant. He now serves as Host.
Announced that he would supply the voice for a "Dirty Harry" video game.
Premiere Magazine ranked him as #43 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature.
Favorite actor is James Cagney.
Some of his favorite movies are, The 39 Steps (1935), Sergeant York (1941), The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) and Chariots of Fire (1981).
Some of his favorite actors are Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum and James Stewart.
In the late 1990s he said that Play Misty for Me (1971), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Bronco Billy (1980),Honkytonk Man (1982), Unforgiven (1992) and A Perfect World (1993) are the favorites of the films he had done.
Has his look-alike puppet in the French show Les guignols de l'info (1988).
He stood at 6'4" at his peak, but due to recent back problems, he can only stretch up to 6'2".
He, Warren Beatty, Robert Redford, Mel Gibson, Richard Attenborough and Kevin Costner are the only directors best known as actors who have won an Academy Award as Best Director.
President of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival.
Claimed that the trait he most despised in others was racism.
The boots that he wore in Unforgiven (1992) are the same ones he wore in the TV series Rawhide (1959). They are now a part of his private collection and were on loan to the 2005 Sergio Leone exhibit at the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles, California. In essence these boots have book-ended his career in the Western genre.
He and former partner Sondra Locke made six films together: The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), The Gauntlet (1977), Every Which Way But Loose (1978), Bronco Billy (1980), Any Which Way You Can (1980), and Sudden Impact (1983).
As a director, he has always refused, and refuses to this day, to test screen his films before their release.
He objected to the end of Dirty Harry (1971) when Harry throws his badge away after killing the Scorpio Killer, arguing with director Don Siegel that Harry knew that being a policeman was the only work for which he was suited. Siegel eventually convinced Eastwood that Harry threw his badge away as a symbol that he had lost faith in the justice system.
His production company is Malpaso Productions, which he formed in 1968. The company's first feature release was, Hang 'Em High (1968).
At the National Board of Review awards dinner in New York City, Eastwood joked that he would kill filmmaker Michael Moore if Moore ever showed up at his home with a camera (an evident reference to Moore's controversial interview with Eastwood's friend, actor and conservative activist Charlton Heston, for the movie Bowling for Columbine (2002)). After the crowd laughed, Eastwood said, "I mean it." Moore's spokesman said, "Michael laughed along with everyone else, and took Mr. Eastwood's comments in the lighthearted spirit in which they were given." Publicly, Eastwood has not commented further.
Took acting class from Michael Chekhov in Hollywood.
He attended President Richard Nixon's landslide victory celebration in Los Angeles, along with John Wayne, Charlton Heston, and Glenn Ford.
Was appointed to serve on the National Council of the Arts by President Richard Nixon.
Has ruled out the possibility of playing Dirty Harry again, saying he has "outgrown him age-wise."
His performance as "Dirty" Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry (1971) is ranked #92 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.
At a press conference for his movie Mystic River (2003), Eastwood condemned the Iraq war as a "big mistake" and defended Sean Penn's visit to Baghdad, saying he might have done the same thing but for his age.
He declined an offer from President George Bush to campaign for him in the Presidential election. He told an interviewer the next year, "I think what the ultra-right wing conservatives did to the Republicans is really self-destructive, absolutely stupid".
His performance as Blondie in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) is ranked #50 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
His performance as "Dirty" Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry (1971) is ranked #42 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Was friends with Robert Donner.
He claims that he wound up getting the role in Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1964) because James Coburn, to whom the role was originally offered, wanted $25,000. Eastwood accepted the role for $15,000.
Was offered Al Pacino's role in Any Given Sunday (1999), but turned it down because Warner Bros. wouldn't let him direct it also.
Is a patron of the arts, notably as an avid collector of western art.
Presented the Golden Globe Award for Best Director to Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain (2005).
His A Fistful of Dollars (1964) mannerisms were imitated in Canada, by the Tim Horton's restaurant chain, to promote the Southwest chicken sub.
Turned down the title role in Superman (1978). The role went to Christopher Reeve.
Whenever asked if he would do a Dirty Harry 6, he often joked that he can imagine Dirty Harry now long retired, and fly-fishing with his .44 magnum.
Cited as America's Favorite Movie Star by the Harris Polls conducted in 1993, 1994 and 1997. Tom Hanks and Harrison Ford are the only other actors to be cited as the #1 Movie Star as many times.
His favorite movie is John Ford's How Green Was My Valley (1941).
Met John Wayne for the first time at the Republican National Convention.
(2/17/07) He was awarded the rank of "Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur" by French President Jacques Chirac as a tribute to his career as an actor and a filmmaker.
Voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California in 2003 and 2006.
His mother, Ruth Wood, accompanied him to the Academy Awards in 1993, 2004 and 2005.
Attended a celebration of John Wayne's 40-year career at Paramount Studios, along with Lee Marvin, Rock Hudson, Fred MacMurray, James Stewart, Ernest Borgnine, Michael Caine and Laurence Harvey.
Fluent in Italian.
Had to fill in for Charlton Heston at The 44th Annual Academy Awards (1972) until Heston arrived.
Was offered Gregory Peck's role in Mackenna's Gold (1969), but turned it down to make Hang 'Em High (1968) instead.
The producers of Dirty Harry (1971) originally didn't want Eastwood, since they felt he was too young at 41. After older stars like John Wayne, Frank Sinatra and Robert Mitchum turned the film down, Eastwood was cast. He last played Harry Callahan aged 57 in The Dead Pool (1988), which was the age the character was supposed to be in the first film according to the original screenplay.
William Friedkin offered him the lead in Sorcerer (1977), but Eastwood didn't want to travel anywhere at that time. Jack Nicholson turned the film down for the same reason.
Used to shop at Market Basket a lot when it was still open.
Mentioned in theme song in The Adventures of George the Projectionist (2006).
(5/11/07) Received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Southern California.
Learned mountain climbing for The Eiger Sanction (1975) because he felt the scenes were too dangerous for him to pay a stuntman to do for him. He was the last climber up The Totem Pole in Monument Valley, and as part of the contract, the movie crew removed the pitons left by decades of other climbers. The scene where he was hanging off the mountain by a single rope was actually Eastwood, and not a stuntman.
An accomplished jazz pianist, he performs much of the music for his movies, including the scene in the bar in In the Line of Fire (1993).
(12/6/06) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Eastwood into the California Hall of Fame located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts.
Along with John Travolta and Tom Selleck, he attended the formal state dinner at the White House held by President Ronald Reagan to welcome Prince Charles and Princess Diana to the United States in 1985.
In the late 1980s he discussed remaking the classic Sam Peckinpah western Ride the High Country (1962) with Charlton Heston.
He was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film culture.
William Goldman said of Eastwood that he was the only person to be a star in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. By "star" Goldman means Variety's list of top ten actors of the decade.
Former longtime companion Sondra Locke blasted Eastwood in her autobiography, "The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly," writing that he persuaded her to have two abortions and a tubal ligation under false pretenses, sabotaged her directorial career after they split up, and secretly fathered two children with another woman during the last three years of their relationship.
Sondra Locke filed a palimony lawsuit against him in 1989, after he changed the locks on their Bel-Air home and had her possessions placed in storage while she was directing the film Impulse (1990). Locke dropped the suit in 1990 in exchange for a multiyear development-directing pact at Warner Bros. According to Locke, the deal was a sham, and she discovered that Eastwood was compensating the studio to keep her out of work by rejecting any and all projects she pitched. In 1995, Locke sued Eastwood a second time, for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. In 1996, just minutes before a jury was to render a verdict in Locke's favor, the two parties agreed to settle for an undisclosed amount.
Though he often smokes in his movies, he is a lifelong non-smoker offscreen.
Although he can handle pistols with either hand equally well, he is left-eye dominant, evident when he shoots a rifle as in Joe Kidd (1972) or Unforgiven (1992), but is right handed, as seen when he wears or handles one pistol.
He and Burt Reynolds had major influences on each other's careers. It was he who sent a copy of "Sharky's Machine" to Reynolds, which gave Reynolds the idea to turn the novel into a movie, Sharky's Machine (1981), which went on to garner excellent reviews. On the other hand, it was Reynolds who sent Clint a copy of "The Outlaw Josey Wales", later made into a film by Eastwood (The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)). Years later, Reynolds told him about "this great novel" called "The Bridges of Madison County", and some time later it was shot by Eastwood (The Bridges of Madison County (1995)).
Served as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, for one term for the nominal salary of $300.
Turned down the role of Willard in Apocalypse Now (1979) because he found it "too dark." The role went to Martin Sheen.
Was offered the chance to play James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), but turned it down because he felt the character should be played by an English actor. The role went to George Lazenby.
Has a younger sister, Jean, and three nieces.
His father, Clinton Sr., died of a stroke at age 64 on July 22, 1970.
Romantically involved with actresses Catherine Deneuve, Jill Banner, Kay Lenz, Jamie Rose, Inger Stevens, Jo Ann Harris, Rebecca Perle, casting director Jane Brolin (née Agee), script analyst Megan Rose (long-term), and former swimming champion Anita Lhoest, according to biographer Patrick McGilligan.
Though he has always been an agnostic, he practices meditation twice a day, and said in 2013 that has been meditating for the past 40 years. One of several celebrity endorsers of David Lynch 's Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.
Dislikes hunting, saying that he doesn't enjoy killing an animal for no reason.
Stepfather, John Belden Wood (born: November 24, 1913 - died: February 18, 2004 at age 90.) He was married to Clint's mother from 1972 until his death.
Considered for the role of Rambo in First Blood (1982).
He was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts on February 25, 2010 for his services and contributions to the arts.
Contrary to rumors, he is not a vegetarian. However, he does keep to a strict lowfat diet.
Profiled in "Directors Close Up" by Jeremy Kagan.
Declined to have a party for his 80th birthday, explaining that at his age he doesn't like birthday parties for himself. He said his only plans to celebrate the occasion would be to go out for a drink with his wife.
The genesis of his production company - Malpaso - had a curious origin. When Italian director Sergio Leone approached Eastwood about appearing in what would become the "Spaghetti Western" trilogy: A Fistful of Dollars (1964) (Fistful of Dollars), For a Few Dollars More (1965) (For a Few Dollars More) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), Eastwood was eager for a plum part but was advised against it by his agent, suggesting it would be a "bad move" (mal paso). Against all odds, the actor went ahead and accepted the "man with no name" role and his decision turned out to be a "good move". Eastwood never forgot the irony of the situation and thereafter adopted "Malpaso" as his production company name.
Was considered for the role of Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
Sergio Leone asked him and his The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) co-stars Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef to appear in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). They all declined when they heard that their characters were going to be killed off in the first five minutes.
In the late 1970s, Alfred Hitchcock approached Eastwood and Catherine Deneuve for the lead roles in a screen adaptation of Ronald Kirkbride's novel "The Short Night," a romantic suspense thriller with espionage elements. Because of the director's ill health, Universal canceled the project in 1979, and the film never got beyond the early pre-production stage.
Eastwood's parents settled in Piedmont, California, where he attended Piedmont Jr. High School, then Piedmont High School from January 1945 to January 1946. Later, Eastwood enrolled at Oakland Technical HS; he was held back a year due to poor academic scores and graduated in 1949.
Served as President of the Cannes Jury when Pulp Fiction (1994) won but the film was not his personal choice: "On the jury here when 'Pulp Fiction' won, somebody said, 'Oh, Clint Eastwood was on the jury, so he voted for the American film.' But my sensibilities are European, here is where my success started. Actually, 'Zhang Yimou''s To Live (1994) was my favorite piece, but most of the European jurors seemed to like 'Pulp Fiction'.".
Five of his movies were nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies: Dirty Harry (1971), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Unforgiven (1992), Mystic River (2003) and Million Dollar Baby (2004). "Unforgiven" made the list at #68, 30 places up from its original rank at #98.
Turned down the role of K in Men in Black (1997).
Paul Haggis, who wrote the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby (2004), offered Eastwood the role of Hank Deerfiled in In the Valley of Elah (2007). Eastwood turned it down and recommended his friend Tommy Lee Jones, who went on to receive a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance.
Was considered for the role of Harvey Dent/Two Face in Batman Forever (1995).
Although he has been associated with violence throughout his career, he personally detests it and has carefully shown the horrific consequences of violence in films such as Unforgiven (1992), A Perfect World (1993), Absolute Power (1997), Mystic River (2003) Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Gran Torino (2008).
According to Robert Daley, the head of Warner Bros. when Eastwood made 15 pictures there, none of these 15 films ever included preview screenings because Clint 'doesn't believe in the preview process'.
He and Warren Beatty are the only actor-directors to earn Best Actor and Best Director Oscar nominations for the same film two times.
His signature character, "The Man With No Name", is portrayed by Timothy Olyphant as "The Spirit of the West" in Rango (2011).
A former logger, steel furnace stoker and gas station attendant before becoming an actor.
Directed two films concurrently in 1973; High Plains Drifter (1973) and Breezy (1973).
Cinematographer Bruce Surtees and actor Geoffrey Lewis are regulars in Eastwood films (he's directed).
Father-in-law of Stacy Poitras.
Currently in Cape Town, South Africa filming Invictus (2009). [March 2009]
Los Angeles, CA, USA: Supporting the 'David Lynch' Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace by appearing in a promotional tape on the foundation's website. [February 2013]
Attending Cannes premiere of latest film Changeling (2008), a period thriller set in the 1920s. [May 2008]
The character Shane Gooseman ("Goose" for short) from the animated space opera The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers (1986) was based on him and his screen persona.
Is a Republican and was the guest speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Personal Quotes (94)

[on Sondra Locke] She plays the victim very well. Unfortunately she had cancer and so she plays that card.
[to Eli Wallach prior to starting work on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) ("The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly")] Never trust anyone on an Italian movie. I know about these things. Stay away from special effects and explosives.
[what he says after a take, instead of "Cut!"] That's enough of that shit.
I like the libertarian view, which is to leave everyone alone. Even as a kid, I was annoyed by people who wanted to tell everyone how to live.
I love every aspect of the creation of motion pictures and I guess I am committed to it for life.
Right now, the state of the movies in America, there's an awful lot of people hanging on wires and floating across things and comic book characters and what have you. There seems to be a lot of big business in that, a nice return on some of those.
Nowadays you'd have many battles before you blow it up, but eventually you'd take it down. And that's okay, I don't heavily quarrel with that, but for me personally, having made films for years and directed for 33 years, it just seems to me that I long for people who want to see a story and see character development. Maybe we've dug it out and there's not really an audience for that, but that's not for me to really worry about.
And I like to direct the same way that I like to be directed.
[on directing] Most people like the magic of having it take a long time and be difficult . . . but I like to move along, I like to keep the actors feeling like they're going somewhere, I like the feeling of coming home after every day and feeling like you've done something and you've progressed somewhere. And to go in and do one shot after lunch and another one maybe at six o'clock and then go home is not my idea of something to do.
I think kids are natural actors. You watch most kids; if they don't have a toy they'll pick up a stick and make a toy out of it. Kids will daydream all the time.
There's really no way to teach you how to act, but there is a way to teach you how to teach yourself to act. That's kind of what it is; once you learn the little tricks that work for you, pretty soon you find yourself doing that.
Again, after you've gone through all the various processes and the film comes out and is very successful, you're almost afraid to revisit it. You want to save it for a rainy day.
...in America, instead of making the audience come to the film, the idea seems to be for you to go to the audience. They come up with the demographics for the film and then the film is made and sold strictly to that audience. Not to say that it's all bad, but it leaves a lot of the rest of us out of it. To me cinema can be a much more friendly world if there's a lot of things to choose from.
You know when you think of a particular director, you think you would have liked to be with them on one particular film and not necessarily on some other one.
At the studios, everybody's into sequels or remakes or adaptations of old TV shows. I don't know if it's because of the corporate environment or they're just out of ideas. Pretty soon, they're going to be wanting to do one of Rawhide (1959).
I think I'm on a track of doing pictures nobody wants to do, that they're all afraid of. I guess it's the era we live in, where they're doing remakes of The Dukes of Hazzard (1979) and other old television shows. I must say, I'm not a negative person, but sometimes I wonder what kind of movies people are going to be making 10 years from now if they follow this trajectory. When I grew up there was such a variety of movies being made. You could go see Sergeant York (1941) or Sitting Pretty (1948) or Sullivan's Travels (1941), dozens of pictures, not to mention all the great B movies. Now, they're looking for whatever the last hit was. If it's The Incredibles (2004), they want 'The Double Incredibles.' My theory is they ought to corral writers into writers' buildings like they used to and start out with fresh material.
I liked the Million Dollar Baby (2004)' script a lot. Warner Bros. said the project had been submitted to them and they'd passed on it. I said, "But I like it." They said, "Well, it's a boxing movie." And I said, "It's not a boxing movie in my opinion. It's a father-daughter love story, and it's a lot of other things besides a boxing movie." They hemmed and hawed and finally said that if I wanted to take it, maybe they'd pay for the domestic rights only. After that, I'd be on my own. We took it to a couple of other studios, and they turned it down, much like Mystic River (2003) was turned down, the exact same pattern. People who kept calling and saying, "Come on, work with us on stuff." I'd give it to them, and they'd go, "Uh, we were thinking more in terms of Dirty Harry coming out of retirement." And who knows? Maybe when it comes out they'll be proven right.
Plastic surgery used to be a thing where older people would try to go into this dream world of being 28 years old again. But now, in Hollywood, even people at 28 are having work done. Society has made us believe you should look like an 18-year-old model all your life. But I figure I might as well just be what I am.
[on trying to get Million Dollar Baby (2004) made at Warner Bros.] They might have been a little more interested if I said I wanted to do "Dirty Harry 9" or something.
[2005 Academy Awards acceptance speech for Best Director for Million Dollar Baby (2004)] Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. I'd like to thank my wife, who is my best pal down here. And my mother, who was here with me in 1993. She was only 84 then. But she's here with me again tonight. And she just -- so, at 96, I'm thanking her for her genes.

It was a wonderful adventure. It takes a -- to make a picture in 37 days, it takes a well-oiled machine. And that well-oiled machine is the crew -- the cast, of course, you've met a lot of them. But there's still Margo and Anthony and Michael and Mike and Jay and everybody else who was so fabulous in this cast. And the crew, Campanelli. Billy Coe and, of course, Tom Stern, who is fantastic. And Henry Bumstead, the great Henry Bumstead who is the head of our crack geriatrics team. And Henry and Jack Taylor, and Dick Goddard [Richard C. Goddard], all those guys. Walt and everybody. I can't think of everybody right now.

I'm drawing a blank right now. But, Warren, you were right. And thank you, for your confidence earlier in the evening. I'm just lucky to be here. Lucky to be still working. And I watched Sidney Lumet, who is 80, and I figure, "I'm just a kid. I'll just -- I've got a lot of stuff to do yet." So thank you all very much. Appreciate it.
[1985] My old drama coach used to say, "Don't just do something, stand there." Gary Cooper wasn't afraid to do nothing.
One of the first films I went to - I went with my dad because my mother didn't want to go see a war movie - was Sergeant York (1941). My dad was a big admirer of Sergeant York stories from [World War I]. It was directed by Howard Hawks. That was when I first became aware of movies, who made them, who was involved.
Most people who'll remember me, if at all, will remember me as an action guy, which is OK. There's nothing wrong with that. But there will be a certain group which will remember me for the other films, the ones where I took a few chances. At least, I like to think so.
The plan was, when I first started directing in the 1970s, to get more involved in production and directing so at some point in my life, when I decided I didn't want to act anymore, I didn't have to suit up.
I feel very close to the western. There are not too many American art forms that are original. Most are derived from European art forms. Other than the western and jazz or blues, that's all that's really original.
In The Bridges of Madison County (1995) Kincaid's a peculiar guy. Really, he's kind of a lonely individual. He's sort of a lost soul in mid-America. I've been that guy.
I think people jumped to conclusions about Dirty Harry (1971) without giving the character much thought, trying to attach right-wing connotations to the film that were never really intended. Both the director [Don Siegel] and I thought it was a basic kind of drama - what do you do when you believe so much in law and order and coming to the rescue of people and you just have five hours to solve a case? That kind of impossible effort was fun to portray, but I think it was interpreted as a pro-police point of view, as a kind of rightist heroism, at a time in American history when police officers were looked down on as "pigs", as very oppressive people - I'm sure there are some who are, and a lot who aren't. I've met both kinds.
You have to trust your instincts. There's a moment when an actor has it, and he knows it. Behind the camera you can feel the moment even more clearly. And once you've got it, once you feel it, you can't second-guess yourself. You can find a million reasons why something didn't work. But if it feels right, and it looks right, it works. Without sounding like a pseudointellectual dipshit, it's my responsibility to be true to myself. If it works for me, it's right.
None of the pictures I take a risk in cost a lot, so it doesn't take much for them to turn a profit. We don't deal in big budgets. We know what we want and we shoot it and we don't waste anything. I never understand these films that cost twenty, thirty million dollars when they could be made for half that. Maybe it's because no one cares. We care.
[on how he decided to do A Fistful of Dollars (1964)] I'd done Rawhide (1959) for about five years. The agency called and asked if I was interested in doing a western in Italy and Spain. I said, "Not particularly." They said, "Why don't you give the script a quick look?" Well, I was kind of curious, so I read it, and I recognized it right away as Yojimbo the Bodyguard (1961), a Kurosawa [Akira Kurosawa] film I had liked a lot. Over I went, taking the poncho with me - yeah the cape was my idea.
There's a rebel lying deep in my soul. Anytime anybody tells me the trend is such and such, I go the opposite direction. I hate the idea of trends. I hate imitation; I have a reverence for individuality. I got where I am by coming off the wall. I've always considered myself too individualistic to be either right-wing or left-wing.
I don't like the wimp syndrome. No matter how ardent a feminist may be, if she is a heterosexual female, she wants the strength of a male companion as well as the sensitivity. The most gentle people in the world are macho males, people who are confident in their masculinity and have a feeling of well-being in themselves. They don't have to kick in doors, mistreat women, or make fun of gays.
I don't believe in pessimism. If something doesn't come up the way you want, forge ahead.
The reason I became a Republican is because [Dwight D. Eisenhower] was running. A hero from World War II, a charismatic individual, a military man, a non-attorney - even then I liked that! I was a very young person voting for the first time. A lot of people joke that a conservative is a liberal who's made his first $100,000 and then decides,"Wait a second, I want to save this, why are they taxing it away?". Today the country's in kind of a turmoil over taxing. Being raised in the thirties, watching my parents work hard to make ends meet, with jobs scarce, and then the war years - it tends to make a person a little more fiscally conscious than if you've been born into a wealthier family. You know, if you go to most people who are self-made and ask them what their political philosophy is, usually they're a little more conservative than people who had a better start.
This film cost $31 million. With that kind of money I could have invaded some country.
They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning.
I've always supported a certain amount of gun control. I think California has always had a mandatory waiting period, so we were never concerned about it like the rest of the country. Some states didn't have any at all. So I've always supported that. I think it's very important that guns don't get in the wrong hands, and, yes, I would support most of that. I don't know too much about trigger locks. I've never really discussed that with anyone. But I do feel that guns - it's very important to keep them out of the hands of felons or anyone who might be crazy with it.
I've thought about retiring for years now. When I did Play Misty for Me (1971) in 1970, I thought that if I could pull this off maybe I could step behind the camera, and it would be time to see the end of me. Every year I have threatened to do that - and here I am. So it may come sooner than you think.
[on World War II] I feel terrible for both sides in that war and in all wars. A lot of innocent people get sacrificed. It's not about winning or losing, but mostly about the interrupted lives of young people.
I've done a lot of violent movies, especially in the early days. My recent efforts, like The Bridges of Madison County (1995), weren't too violent. In recent years I've done less, and, yes, I am concerned about violence in film. In '92, when I did Unforgiven (1992), which is a film that had a very anti- violence and anti-gun play - anti-romanticizing of gun play theme, I remember that Gene Hackman was concerned about it, and we both discussed the issue of too much violence in films. It's escalated ninety times since Dirty Harry (1971) and those films were made.
Maybe I'm getting to the age when I'm starting to be senile or nostalgic or both, but people are so angry now. You used to be able to disagree with people and still be friends. Now you hear these talk shows, and everyone who believes differently from you is a moron and an idiot - both on the Right and the Left.
I like to play the line and not wander too far to either side. If a guy has just had a bad day in the mines and wants to see a good shoot 'em up, that's great.
My involvement goes deeper than acting or directing. I love every aspect of the creation of motion pictures and I guess I'm committed to it for life.
Whatever success I've had is due to a lot of instinct and a little luck.
I've always had the ability to say to the audience, watch this if you like, and if you don't, take a hike.
I've actually had people come up to me and ask me to autograph their guns.
[on former President Ronald Reagan] Yes, I liked him very much. When he was a former president of the Screen Actors Guild, I don't think he had the vast support that a lot of other presidents have had. So I don't know why that is, it's just the nature of things.
[when asked if he is still registered as a Republican] Yes, I am. I started running. And I was in the military. I was a fan of his. And that's how I got started off. I was never - my parents were mixed, I think one Republican, one Democrat, so I didn't have any grand-pappies to influence me.
When I was doing The Bridges of Madison County (1995), I said to myself, "This romantic stuff is really tough. I can't wait to get back to shooting and killing."
[when asked if he has disappointed his conservative fans by directing Million Dollar Baby (2004)] Well, I got a big laugh out of that. These people are always bitching about "Hollyweird", and then they start bitching about this film. Are they all so mad because The Passion of the Christ (2004) is only up for the makeup award and a couple of other minor things? Extremism is so easy. You've got your position, and that's it. It doesn't take much thought. And when you go far enough to the right you meet the same idiots coming around from the left.
[on John Huston] It's another aspect of the character that pleased me: he was interested in other things besides his art. He liked women, gambling, living the high life. He could have a life parallel to his work. I could identify with this type of behavior. But, because of this very fact, he became attracted more and more by other things, so that what interested him in life moved him away from his art to the point that he nearly lived a tragedy. And the tragedy brings him back to reality. If you study Huston's life, you realize that at the age of nineteen he thought he didn't have long to live because of a heart defect a doctor has notified him of as a result of a misdiagnosis. It drove him to elaborate a personal philosophy according to which he would profit from life to the maximum. He didn't take care of himself - he was a confirmed smoker, a heavy drinker - and yet he lived to be more than eighty. Paul Newman spoke to me about him when we were acting at the same time, each in a different movie, in Tucson, Arizona. He was starring in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) and I was doing Joe Kidd (1972) with John Sturges. Huston drank martinis and smoked cigars all night long, slept from one o'clock to four o'clock in the morning because he was an insomniac, did everything he shouldn't do to live to be old, and yet he died at a very great age! It was the same thing with John Wayne, who was first of all the opposite of a health fanatic.
I never considered myself a cowboy, because I wasn't. But I guess when I got into cowboy gear I looked enough like one to convince people that I was.
If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.
I always cry when I watch myself on screen.
Guys I thought of as heroes were like Joe Louis and, maybe during the war, there was General [George S. Patton], of course, and maybe [Dwight D. Eisenhower], who was the head of the Allied forces. And Gary Cooper. There were just a handful of men and a handful of women. Now, people become stars who are just heiresses or something.
I also wonder how I got this far in life. Growing up, I never knew what I wanted to do. I was not a terribly good student or a very vivacious, outgoing person. I was just kind of a backward kid. I grew up in various little towns and ended up in Oakland, California, going to a trade school. I didn't want to be an actor, because I thought an actor had to be an extrovert - somebody who loved to tell jokes and talk and be a raconteur. And I was something of an introvert. My mother used to say: "You have a little angel on your shoulder." I guess she was surprised I grew up at all, never mind that I got to where I am. The best I can do is quote a line from Unforgiven (1992): "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."
Every movie I make teaches me something, and that's why I keep making them. I'm at that stage of life when I could probably stop and just hit golf balls. But in filming these two movies about Iwo Jima, I learnt about war and about character. I also learnt a lot about myself.
I was a teenager when the battle of Iwo Jima took place. I remember hearing about the bond drive and the need to maintain the war effort. Back then, people had just come through 10 years of a Depression, and they were used to working for everything. I still have an image of someone coming to our house when I was about six years old, offering to cut and stack the wood in our back yard if my mother would make him a sandwich.
The Americans who went to Iwo Jima knew it would be a tough fight, but they always believed they'd win. The Japanese were told they wouldn't come home - they were being sent to die for the Emperor. People have made a lot out of that very different cultural approach. But as I got into the storytelling for the two movies [Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)], I realised that the 19-year-olds from both sides had the same fears. They all wrote poignant letters home saying: "I don't want to die." They were all going through the same thing, despite the cultural differences.
I guess if you see both of the movies [Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)] together, they sum up as an antiwar film. Whether it's about territory or religion, war is horrifyingly and depressingly archaic. But I didn't set out to make a war movie. I cared about those three fellows - Bradley, Hayes and Gagnon [John H. Bradley, Ira H. Hayes, 'René A. Gagnon'] - the headliners on that war-bond circus. The young men were taken off the front lines, wined and dined, introduced to movie stars. But it felt wrong to them.
As for me, I like being behind the camera instead of in front of it. I can wear what I want. Will I act again? I never say never. I like doing things where I can stretch and go in different directions. I'm not looking to take it easy. Like the Marines on Iwo Jima, I understand that if you really want something, you have to be ready to fight.
Life is a constant class, and once you think you know it all, you're due to decay. You're due to slide. I have to keep challenging myself and try something I haven't done before. The studios aren't always happy with that. When I wanted to make Mystic River (2003), the studio said, "Uh-oh, it's so dark." And I said, "Well, it's important. And it's a nice story." Then the next movie, Million Dollar Baby (2004), they said, "Who wants to see a picture about a girl boxing?" And I said, "It's really a father-daughter love story. Boxing just happens to be what's going on." They didn't have much faith. So there are always obstacles and people afraid to take risks. That's why you end up with remakes of old TV shows as movies. But playing it safe is what's risky, because nothing new comes out of it.
[on the Iraq war] My druthers would have been, "Get a more benevolent dictator and stick him in. You know, try somebody a little less mean." You don't go in there and fire the army. The army's got to do something. When you fire 'em, you leave them all unemployed. Worst thing in the world. Just get somebody else who they respect and bring him on your side. That's one way of doing it.
[on President George W. Bush] You've got to admire somebody who stands up for what they believe regardless of how the polls go. A lot of presidents do everything by the polls. They do a focus group then all of a sudden they say, "OK, that's what I'm going to be for because that's where focus group is leading me.
[on the Iraq war] I wasn't for going in there. Only because democracy isn't something that you get overnight. I don't think America got democracy overnight. It's something we had to fight for and believe in.
[on John Wayne] I gave him a piece of material that I thought had potential for us to do as a younger guy and an older guy. He wrote me back critical of it. He had seen High Plains Drifter (1973), and he didn't think that represented Americana like She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and other John Ford westerns. I never answered him.
[on Sergio Leone] I spun off Sergio and he spun off me. I think we worked well together. I like his compositions. He has a very good eye. I liked him, I liked his sense of humor, but I feel it was mutual. He liked dealing with the kind of character I was putting together.
"Macho" was a fashionable word in the 1980s. Everybody was kind of into it, what's macho and what isn't macho. I really don't know what macho is. I never have understood. Does it mean somebody who swaggers around exuding testosterone? And kicks the gate open and runs sprints up and down the street? Or does handsprings or whatever? Or is macho a quiet thing based on your security. I remember shaking hands with Rocky Marciano. He was gentle, he didn't squeeze your hand. And he had a high voice. But he could knock people around, it was a given. That's macho. Muhammad Ali is the same. If you talked with him in his younger years, he spoke gently. He wasn't kicking over chairs. I think some of the most macho people are the gentlest.
I was tired of playing the nice, clean-cut cowboy in Rawhide (1959), I wanted something earthier. Something different from the old-fashioned Western. You know: Hero rides in, very stalwart, with white hat, man's beating a horse, hero jumps off, punches man, schoolmarm walks down the street, sees this situation going on, slight conflict with schoolmarm, but not too much. You know schoolmarm and hero will be together in exactly 10 more reels, if you care to sit around and wait, and you know the man beast horse with eventually get comeuppance from hero this guy bushwhacks him in reel nine. But [A Fistful of Dollars (1964)] was different; it definitely had satiric overtones. The hero was an enigmatic figure, and that worked within the context of this picture. In some films, he would be ludicrous. You can't have a cartoon in the middle of a Renoir.
In those days, they'd make interview tests, not acting tests. They'd sit you in front of the camera and talk--just as we're talking now. I thought I was an absolute clod. It looked pretty good; it was photographed well, but I thought, "If that's acting, I'm in trouble". But they signed me up as a contract player--which was a little lower than working in the mailroom.
I like working with actors who don't have anything to prove.
[on Ambush at Cimarron Pass (1958)] Probably the lousiest western ever made.
[on the retirement of friend and fellow actor Gene Hackman]: It is a sad thing. I know his agent and I saw him recently, and he said, 'Can't you talk Gene into coming back?' I said, 'I'd love to see him come back, but I think it's not very nice to ride him.' He's too good an actor not to be performing but, by the same token, he probably thinks that's enough.
[on Gran Torino (2008)] That will probably do it for me as far as acting is concerned. You always want to quit while you are ahead. You don't want to be like a fighter who stays too long in the ring until you're not performing at your best.
There are certain things you have to be realistic about. Dirty Harry would not be on a police department at my age so we'll move on from that.
Having a good person as a foil certainly helps, because acting is an ensemble art form. Clark Gable is only as good as Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night (1934).
[on Paint Your Wagon (1969)] It wasn't like Singin' in the Rain (1952), where it had a cohesive plot line. They started out with a real dramatic story and then made it fluffy. When they changed it around, I tried to bail out. It wasn't my favorite. I wasn't particularly nervous about singing on film. My dad was a singer and we'd have sing-arounds. But certainly [Frank Sinatra] wasn't worried.
With Every Which Way But Loose (1978), they gave me the script and I thought, "This is something. This is kinda crazy. But there's something kind of hip about it. This guy's out drifting along and his best friend is an orangutan". I mean, the scenes of talking to an orangutan about your troubles, I'd never seen anything quite like it. He has a romance that falls through, he doesn't get the girl, and then he goes off with the orangutan. I thought, What could be better? I wouldn't put it in the time capsule of films you did that you thought were great, but everything's a challenge.
Gene Hackman was interesting because I gave the Unforgiven (1992) script to his agent and he said no, he didn't want to do anything violent. But I went back to him and said, "I know where you're coming from. You get to a certain age and I'm there too, where you don't want to tell a lot of violent stories, but this is a chance to make a great statement".
At this particular time in my life, I'm not doing anything as a moneymaker. It's like I'm pushing the envelope the other way to see how far we can go to be noncommercial. But I'm definitely not going for the demographics of 13- to 15-year-olds. I didn't know if Mystic River (2003) would go over at all. I had a hard time getting it financed, to tell you the truth. But I just told Warners the same thing I did with Million Dollar Baby (2004): "I don't know if this is going to make any money. But, I think I can make a picture that you'd be proud to have in your library.
People have lost their sense of humor. In former times we constantly made jokes about different races. You can only tell them today with one hand over your mouth or you will be insulted as a racist. I find that ridiculous. In those earlier days every friendly clique had a 'Sam the Jew' or 'Jose the Mexican' - but we didn't think anything of it or have a racist thought. It was just normal that we made jokes based on our nationality or ethnicity. That was never a problem. I don't want to be politically correct. We're all spending too much time and energy trying to be politically correct about everything.
[on the possibility of a Dirty Harry (1971) sequel] I'm 78 years old, and you're pretty well drummed out of the police force by that age. There could be a scenario. I suppose if some mythical writer came out of nowhere and it was the greatest thing on the planet, I'd certainly have to think about it. But it's not like I've ever courted it. I feel like that was an era of my life, and I've gone on to other things. I'm not sure about being Dirty Harry again--but who knows?
I keep finding interesting stories, or they come to me, so I'll keep making movies.
[on a possible return to acting after saying he was giving it up with Gran Torino (2008)] I'm like Jaws 2 (1978): "Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water..."
[on Angelina Jolie] She's wonderful. To me, she's like a throwback to the women in film of the Forties. Not to say women today aren't great, but back then there was more individuality. They didn't have the same Botox look. Angelina has that great individuality, her own look and her own style. I think she would have been just as big a name in that era, the same as Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis and Ingrid Bergman.
[on Million Dollar Baby (2004)] It's a tragedy that could have been written by the Greeks or Shakespeare.
I don't quite understand this obsession about doing remakes and making television series into feature films. I would rather see them encourage writers with new ideas in all different genres like they used to in the heyday of movies.
[in 2002, on Michael Cimino] George Lucas made Howard the Duck (1986), and the guy who made Waterworld (1995) - those films didn't destroy them. Critics were set up to hate Heaven's Gate (1980) . . . the picture didn't work with the public. If it had, it would have been the same as Titanic (1997). "Titanic" worked, so all is forgiven. Certain things may have been his fault. The accolades for The Deer Hunter (1978) probably made him think, "I am a genius, king of the world". But if you say you're king of the world then people will root for you to fall . . . I've always said that if you're prepared to accept reviews saying you're brilliant, you better be prepared to accept reviews saying you're a burn. The guy calling you a bum may be wrong, but the guy calling you brilliant may be wrong, too. Michael needs to make an intimate, smaller picture, do a film for five or six weeks, with no special effects, flying by the seats of his pants, to not be afraid and pull the trigger.
[on death] I don't think older people think about it that much, my mother was 97. She passed away a few years back. The only thing she ever said to me, toward the last, she said, 'I want out of here, I am tired.' And I said 'No, no, three more years. We get the century mark.' I figured I could coax her into more after that, but when she finally did pass away, she couldn't talk because she had had a stroke. They said do you want to be resuscitated for while, and she said 'no.' So, I had to grant her that wish. She had no fear and I think as you get older -- you probably have more fear as a younger person than you do as an older person. Because as an older person you have stacked up a lot of background and time-in-grade, so to speak, so you are probably thinking what the hell 'I have had a good time.
If you believe in reincarnation you're putting too much on the other side. I believe you have just one shot at life, and you should do the best you can with that shot. And I suppose you should be thankful that you've been given the ability to do certain things in life, and not be greedy enough to want to stay around forever.
[on the Rocky (1976) movies] I loved the first one. I always admired Sylvester Stallone's tenacity to go ahead and get that made.
I would never have been able to pass the Bill Clinton-Gary Hart test. No one short of Mother Teresa could pass.
[on directing Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover] He could make a lot of money making mechanical genre pictures but he wants to be challenged. And it's much more of a challenge to play someone who doesn't have the slightest thing in common with you.
[on Bruce Surtees] He was fearless. He wasn't afraid to give you sketchy lighting if you asked for it. He didn't believe in flat light or just bright, 'Rexall drugstore' lighting, which a lot of times you can get if you get somebody that isn't very imaginative. He was perfect for me, because we didn't have very big budgets in those days. He'd made dollies by towing a blanket across the floor with the cameraman sitting on it.

Salary (15)

Francis in the Navy (1955) $100
Star in the Dust (1956) $75
The First Traveling Saleslady (1956) $750
Ambush at Cimarron Pass (1958) $750
Rawhide (1959) $600 /week
Per un pugno di dollari (1964) $15,000
Per qualche dollaro in più (1965) $50,000
Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. (1966) $250,000
Le streghe (1967) $20,000
Hang 'Em High (1968) $400,000
Where Eagles Dare (1968) $750,000
Paint Your Wagon (1969) $500,000
Every Which Way But Loose (1978) $12,000,000 (15% of gross)
City Heat (1984) $5,000,000
In the Line of Fire (1993) $7,000,000

See also

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